Finding solutions for river pollution: Connecticut River Watershed Council promotes zero waste

Sep 24th, 2014 | By | Category: River, Water
Connecticut River Watershed Council’s Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers have removed more than 851 tons of trash over the 18 years of the river clean-up event. Now CRWC is also working on solutions to keep trash out of our rivers in the first place, particularly tires and plastic bottles.

Connecticut River Watershed Council’s Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers have removed more than 851 tons of trash over the 18 years of the river clean-up event. Now CRWC is also working on solutions to keep trash out of our rivers in the first place, particularly tires and plastic bottles.

Middletown, CT—The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) will use their 18th Annual Source to Sea Cleanup on Sept. 26, 27 as a way to push for solutions to river waste. The Cleanup supports policies and legislation that help keep waste from ending up in local rivers and streams. The Council also supports a new vision of zero waste for the Connecticut River and its tributaries.

Zero waste is a goal of a future free from waste. It is a concept being adopted by cities around the world, including Middletown, CT right on the Connecticut River. Zero waste aims for all discarded materials to become resources for another use. A zero waste community encourages individuals, businesses, and government agencies to take concrete steps towards rethinking how they treat their trash. “We all have a responsibility to solve this problem—individuals, manufacturers, businesses, and government,” says Andrew Fisk, CRWC Executive Director.

Initiatives such as increasing access and ease of curb side recycling, expanding existing recycling efforts to process all varieties of materials, and extending the responsibility of recycling to manufacturers are essential to the success of zero waste programs. Given what’s found in our rivers every year, CRWC would like to see existing bottle bills be expanded to include all single-use beverage containers, banning or establishing pay-per-use of plastic bags, and legislation allowing for free tire disposal.

“Each year we find thousands of single-use bottles and hundreds of tires in and near our rivers,” notes CRWC River Steward Jacqueline Talbot. “Eventually, this trash becomes part of the large ocean garbage patches that harm wildlife. We will use the data collected on these items during the Source to Sea Cleanup to help inform policies and practices that will get bottle and tire waste out of our rivers,” continues Talbot. “Healthy rivers are so important because they contribute so much, both to our economies and the beauty and enjoyment of our communities.”

Lead Source to Sea Cleanup sponsors NRG Middletown and TransCanada are pleased to support CRWC’s efforts. “TransCanada believes in partnering with organizations that help build stronger communities,” says Jasmin Bertovic, Vice President of the Eastern Commercial Region of TransCanada.

Jeff Araujo, manager of NRG’s Middletown Station, said “We’re pleased to sponsor this event annually, but also to go out and actually clean up the River. This is the community where we live and work, and it’s important to us.”

“We will address river pollution with innovation and teamwork,” says Talbot, “and you can be a part of it.” Volunteers of all ages and abilities are invited to head out to clean the Connecticut River and its tributaries on foot or by boat on September 26 and 27. Volunteers remove trash along rivers, streams and stream banks, parks, boat launches, trails and more. Individuals can join a clean-up group by visiting www.ctriver.org/cleanup and clicking ‘Join a Group’. Businesses are also encouraged to get involved by starting an employee clean-up group, making a donation of supplies such as gloves and trash bags, or becoming an event sponsor.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, we celebrate our four-state treasure and collaborate, educate, organize, restore and intervene to preserve its health for generations to come. Our work informs our vision of economic and ecological abundance. To learn more about CRWC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020, ext. 201.

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